If you didn’t need to grow your company, hire new employees, replace current contracts when they end, or keep up with competitors, then you could get by with a fairly basic website
. And you wouldn’t need to change your website often or be concerned about security issues
. But if you’re reading this, that’s not your company. You need to grow and attract new talent. You need to launch new services to outpace your competition. And lord knows you need to stay vigilant for security threats from sophisticated criminals and foreign adversaries.
For all these reasons, you cannot just launch and then ignore your website. On the contrary, every growth-oriented company should budget monthly for a professional website management capability
, just as you probably budget for IT infrastructure and services management. Here are a few aspects of your website that need regular maintenance or management.
In recent years, search engines like Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo have tuned their algorithms to prefer sites with “fresh” content
. Simple search engine optimization by focusing on keywords is no longer sufficient. There are many ways to convince search engines you have fresh content on your site. If you’re a government contractor, you can create new pages of content for news releases, blog posts, or case studies. You can also update your existing pages for service descriptions, leadership bios, customer/partner listings, or event calendars. The search engines reward you for updating your site content several times each week. If you don’t have a WordPress whiz on your staff, you should have a contractor available to update your site for you. And if you’re the CEO or head of sales, by all means do NOT update your site yourself – even in the off-hours. Your time is much more valuable than that! You should focus on growing your company, making new relationships, expanding your knowledge, or investing in your family and personal health.
In the old, old days, websites were hardcoded with HTML. Today, almost everyone uses a content management system like WordPress or Drupal to expand a site’s functionality and make it easier to manage. However, the people who build your CMS and its plugins update them frequently – both to add new features and to plug security holes. These software developers actually expect to find bugs and security flaws while they’re adding new features, so mature developers will update several times a month. And these developers expect the people using their software to install these updates regularly
. You also need to monitor all site software licenses and renew them before they expire (or cancel them when no longer needed).
Bottom line: Your WordPress site is an active, dynamic platform that needs regular attention to keep it running well and to patch security holes that are an accepted aspect of our online world.
Active Security Monitoring
In addition to updating software to patch security holes, you should have someone actively monitoring your site security. If you’re are certified under ISO 27001 (information security) or are required to comply with the emerging Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), you are expected to actively manage and monitor all company information systems – including your company’s website.
At a minimum, you need to monitor for the following:
- Unauthorized log-in attempts
- Unusual site traffic patterns
- Any attempted or successful changes to your site’s source code
Your website management team should provide documentation about all security checks at least monthly. They also should be ready to respond if you need to change any site security settings. For example, if you block all traffic requests from outside the U.S., but you launch an international joint venture or new office abroad, you may need to tweak your site’s firewall.
Site Traffic Analytics
Company leaders from sales, marketing, and even Talent Acquisition frequently ask about how many visitors they get to various sections of the website. How much interest did you generate with a marketing campaign, news release, or industry event? What terms do people search to find your site and which pages get the most traffic? How many potential job candidates visited your Careers site vs. the number who applied for jobs?
Standard monthly reports from Google Analytics can answer some of these questions. But every report seems to beg even more questions that can be answered only with custom queries and analysis. Small and even mid-sized companies usually don’t have website analytics specialists on staff. Your website management contract should give you access to a certain amount of time for reporting and analytics, if that’s important to your company.
Your website is a dynamic platform with the ability to empower so many parts of your growth engine. To make sure it continues to serve your interests, you should budget for a monthly management fee to cover all these basic services and any other specialized management needs you have. Just as you pay a month management and maintenance fee for your physical office presence, your online presence requires a similar level of commitment and upkeep. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
if you want to discuss your website management needs.